I could argue that I have the best friends anyone could ever ask for. I’m sure that many of you could argue that as well.
There’s a certain joy and hope that comes from spending time with wholesome friends, isn’t there? A part of you fills with love and plenty of laughter. The book of Proverbs talks a lot about friendship and says that “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (17:17) as well as describing ‘a friend that sticks closer than a brother.’ (18:24)
Wow! I want to be that kind of friend!
But unfortunately, in this modern age, good friends are hard to find. Many people we would consider ‘friends’ whether at school or on social media are often an unhealthy influence and can be a source of peer pressure – the unwise kind.
Too often, non-believing friends can lead us down paths that we as Christians should not travel. Relationships can be another way the enemy taps into our hearts and leads us away from God.
Here are three different reasons why healthy friends are important:
1. Peer Pressure
No, I’m talking about the healthy kind! Good friends spur one another on, even when we don’t want to or are reluctant. Things like regular Bible study and times of prayer are a good way to connect and be accountable to each other. When we approach these friends with a problem or struggle, they can help us choose the right answer.
2. Friends don’t have to be your age!
Shocking, I know. A lot of us like to think of good friends who are not in our age range as more of mentors, or ‘grown-up’ friends. This does not have to be the case! Many of my closest friends are those who are 10+ years older than I am.
And that’s totally okay.
While friends who are in your age group are great, it’s also healthy to strike up friendships with those who aren’t. Adults were once kids too, you know! They remember what it was like to be a teenager with all their teenager friends, and they probably have some amazing wisdom and stories to share if you’ll lend an ear to listen.
Just because they are much older than you, doesn’t mean that hanging out with adults is going to be boring – in fact, that’s probably a low expectation among teens. Adults are funny, ambitious, and loyal, just like your peers and relationships with them can be deeply enriching and edifying.
3. Friends are exceedingly influential.
So, pick the right ones! 2 Corinthians 10:15 says “But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged…” We live in a world where everyone influences the other in some significant way, whether that be the popular girl at school or a politician or whatever social media wants you to believe.
Our friends will influence us, and it’s our job to discern who and what will spur us to be more or less like Christ Jesus. After all, He’s the ultimate friend.
After all of this, you might be wondering ‘But how do I know who good friends are? How do I find good friends?’ These are great questions, so let me give you some tips:
Pray for good friends and influences in your life. Matthew 7:7 says “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and a door will be opened. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” This is an amazing promise, and I have personally seen it play out in my life. God is able to orchestrate events and relationships to bring friends together. Even if you’re in a season of loneliness, continue to pray for God-glorifying friendships.
Ask God to give you discernment.
Finding good friends isn’t always easy, especially nowadays when sadly many people who profess the name of Christ do not act in accordance. It can be hard to see whether or not your peers are really who they proclaim to be.
Ask a trusted Christian friend or family member to help you discern who might be a good influence on you and who might not. They might be able to view more of the picture than you and can help you see through a different lens.
Trust in God’s timing.
Sometimes – well, if I’m honest, most of the time – it can be hard to see how God is working and changing your life. Other times it’s drastic, and you might be caught up in a swell of change. But even if you’re in a difficult season and you’re feeling alone, you can trust in the promise of Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
We might hear this verse every day of our lives and still have trouble seeing the bigger picture but remember that God is bigger than any troubles or searching. He has carefully, and with the utmost detail, crafted our lives, and He sees us in whatever moment of life we’re in and offers us wisdom and guidance if only we’ll have the humility to accept and an ear to learn.Good friends may be a mess of trouble to find, and we might even have to give up other friends to discover them, but once you do have them, the adventures are limitless and the love abounding. Click To Tweet
Good friends may be a whole mess of trouble to find, and we might even have to give up some to discover them, but once you do have them, the adventures are limitless and the love abounding.